The Greta Thunberg movement seems to have energised many young professionals, particularly angst-ridden millennials who have suddenly found a new focus for their anxieties. This time it’s the planet that concentrates their minds, as in, will there even be one when they retire?
Their anxiety, rage and frustration is only heightened when they are confronted with the realisation that they have little monetary clout to pose any real threat to their adversaries, the big polluters. Furthermore, though vote-hungry politicians may be swayed by street demonstrations and the like, for billion-dollar industries these are mere annoyances to be swatted away or ignored.
But wait, are these millennials missing a trick, and a huge trick at that? Just as people used to remain with their first bank for the rest of their lives, so too has it been the case with pension funds. A young person’s early pension may have small initial value but will grow to many millions by the time they retire.
Get a groundswell of like-minded millennials to speak with one voice and suddenly you have a hammer where before you had just a straw. If millennials could be awakened to the untapped power they have at their fingertips, how magnificently puissant might their new initiative be?
What is needed is a skilful social media campaign, perhaps driven by a vociferous and campaigning woman who is ever keen to seize upon any new and exciting approach to virtuous investing. Perhaps she would be looking for an escape from the tedium of passive management and its fee-throttling structures.
Now who, I wonder, could we suggest for such a role?
Robin Ducret, Cape Town
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